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Old 08-10-2010, 02:14 AM   #1
Booj
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MSI GTS 450 Cyclone review

Hey guys,

Today i'll be taking a look at the newest card from the Nvidia stable,The GTS 450. I'll give an overview of the card and take it through it's paces in some benchmarks at stock and overclocked settings. The card is positioned as a competitor to the HD 57xx series from AMD. Since i don't have one of those cards on hand, i've chosen to compare it against the venerable previous generation card, the GTS 250 to give a reference.

Introduction

The GTS 450 is based on the Nvidia GF106 GPU, a derivative of the Fermi architecture. It is a 1.17 billion transistor chip built with TSMC's 40nm process. In it's reference configuration, it comes with 192 stream processors or 'Cuda Cores' in Nvidia parlance. It features a 783mhz core clock, 1566mhz shader clock and comes with 1gb of GDDR5 memory hooked up with a 128but bus clocked at 902mhz (3608mhz qddr.)

The MSI N450GTS is an overclocked version, based on the reference PCB but featuring a significant 850mhz core clock, 1700mhz shader clock and memory clocked at 1ghz for a 4ghz effective clock. The most obvious difference is the addition of MSI's highly regarded Cyclone cooler, which promises better and quieter cooling than the reference design.

More details and specifications can be found at the MSI website here

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Old 08-10-2010, 02:15 AM   #2
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Test Setup


The cards
MSI N450GTS-1GD5/OC w/ Forceware 260.63
MSI N250GTS-2D1G w/ Forceware 260.63
Intel i7 980X @ 4ghz
MSI Big Bang Xpower motherboard
6gb G.Skill Trident 2000mhz C9 @ 1600mhz 7-8-7-20
Thermaltake Toughpower 1200w
Windows 7 32bit


Benchmarks

First up, a look at the load temperature of the card at default settings. At close to 7 minutes of stress testing the card is a very cool 45 degrees at 50% fan speed. Not bad at all.


Since we're dealing with a mid range card, I've chosen a mainstream resolution to benchmark with which is common in the targeted market at 1680x1050. However some of the following results will show that higher resolution won't be a problem




Crysis
First up is Crysis. I have used the Assault Harbour test which features gunfire and explosions which should be more representative of general gameplay. Resolution is 1680x1050 at high settings in DX10 mode .

GTS 250 Avg 31.05
GTS 450 Avg 33.89
GTS 450 OC Avg 38.89


It's great to see a mainstream card delivering perfectly smooth fps levels at high settings in Crysis.


Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 is another nice looking game that the 450 eats up at 1680x1050 resolution.

GTS 250 Avg 73.0
GTS 450 Avg 81.3
GTS 450 OC Avg 89.9


There's nothing to stop jumping to higher resolutions with those fps numbers.



Far Cry 2



GTS 250 avg 53.75
GTS 450 avg 74.83
GTS 450 OC avg 84.58


The 450 is miles ahead of the 250 in Far Cry 2. Once again increasing the resolution or turning on the AA/AF won't be a problem. Very impressive for a mainstream card at ultra high settings.



Stalker: Call of Pripyat

Stalker: Call of Pripyat is one of the few DX11 benches available. I love the apocalyptic atmosphere in this game. This one was run on the 450 only because of the lack of DX11 support on the 250.

GTS 450 avg of 4 tests, 59.0, 62.7, 67.7, 33.1
GTS 450 OC avg of 4 tests, 67.6, 71.2, 77.1, 37.7


Another strong result. Stalker in DX11 mode with ultra high quality at 1680x1050 is a breeze.

Last edited by Booj; 08-10-2010 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:15 AM   #3
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3dmark 03


GTS 250 46519
GTS 450 43729
GTS 450 OC 48455



3dmark 03 is an odd one where the GTS 250 is still in front of the 450 at stock clocks. I'll put this down to a lack of optimization for 03 in the driver for the 450.



3dmark 06


GTS 250 17457
GTS 450 18554
GTS 450 OC 20633



3dmark 06 shows the 450 more favorably.



3dmark Vantage


GTS250 8570
GTS450 11473 stock
GTS450 12977 OC



The 450 trounces the 250 in Vantage.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:16 AM   #4
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Conclusion


A quick look on the bot puts the 450 3dmark results somewhere in between a HD 5750 and 5770, which is pretty reflective of it's pricing in the Australian market at least. I would expect 03 performance to improve with driver revisions.

There's one thing we can be sure of: After it's incredibly long life and all the rebrands, the G92 core can finally be put out to pasture.

Like the 460, the 450 has plenty of headroom for overclocking, even after a factory OC from MSI. Perhaps with some additional heatsinks on the memory and VRM sections, even better overclocking could be achieved. It's hard to complain with a close to 200mhz OC over the reference clocks though. It makes you wonder why Nvidia didn't release the card with a higher default clock to put more pressure on the 57xx series from ATI.
It's hard to overlook how late the card is to market. If the 450 and for that matter the 460 were released a year ago, with a bit higher default clock then Nvidia could have been very competitive in the midrange.

The addition of the cyclone cooler renders the card more or less silent, with the hard drive of the test system being the noisiest component when idling. With both the Cyclone cooler and Intel 980x cooler at 100%, the 980x cooler was much louder.

For the time being though the card provides capable gaming at resolutions typical of the mainstream, If you're on a budget, looking for a quiet card that delivers on a price/performance ratio, then the GTS450 Cyclone is definitely worthy of consideration.

Pro's
Competitive price
Excellent overclocking capability
Low load temps and noise levels with the Cyclone cooler.
The Afterburner utility
Smooth gaming at high settings up to and beyond 1680x1050

Con's
Late to market
No memory or vrm cooling

Thanks to MSI Australia for the review sample.
and thanks for reading guys.

Cheers,
Booj

Last edited by Booj; 08-10-2010 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:36 PM   #5
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it's a really nice vga. i've tried it to take part in the hwbot contest. i think it's a good solution for playing without spending much money...but the best solution maybe are the new 460s 1gb.

anyway nice review, good job!
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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Thanks 7ornado

Yeah i would have liked to enter the hwbot comp too but the lower default clocks of the 460's was too much to overcome. Would have needed 1100mhz stable or something like that heh
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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Yeah, Good review Booj.
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Old 14-10-2010, 05:36 AM   #8
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By Booj View Post
Thanks 7ornado

Yeah i would have liked to enter the hwbot comp too but the lower default clocks of the 460's was too much to overcome. Would have needed 1100mhz stable or something like that heh
my sample reached 1050-1060 with ln2 @ 25c (LOL) but, as you said, not enough...
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